• Published 6th Mar 2019
  • 473 Views, 52 Comments

The Last of the Dark Ponies - Askre

Private Iceland and his brother Barricade are once again entangled in the machinations of King Sombra.

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Chapter 1. I’m NOT going to a birthday party.

Chapter 1

Dinky and Tootsie walked into Sugarcube Corner with determination written all over their faces. The two Unicorn fillies stopped at the back of the line to the counter and waited patiently for their turn. It wasn’t a long line, mostly ponies were coming in for some coffee and something quick to bite this early in the morning.

The two fillies never changed their expression the whole time and when the line moved, the foster siblings moved almost synchronized a step or two forward. No one really paid it any mind, most ponies in Ponyville were quite used to their antics. They tended to have their way of playing and it was at least less destructive than when the Cutie Mark Crusaders were still looking for cutie marks.

Finally it was their turn and it was Pinkie Pie who was behind the counter. The pink pony didn’t even bat an eye at the serious looks on the filles, just smiled an impossibly wide smile as she cheerfully greeted them.

“Hi girls, what can I get you today, something that makes your frown go upside down?” The mare giggled.

“We have a serious business proposal for you,” Dinky stated with a no-nonsense tone of voice.

“Oooooh, what is it?” Pinkie asked, immediately intrigued and stretched over the counter, violating probably several biological facts as she did so.

“We need a party thrown,” Tootsie said, speaking just as seriously as her violet-colored sister, causing the mare to gasp as if she was shocked at the revelation.

“A birthday party,” Dinky nodded.

Pinkie blinked for a moment, then suddenly her expression became just as serious as the fillies. She grabbed the girls and pulled them behind the counter, ducking down so that she was out of sight. No one paid this any attention either, everyone was just as used to Pinkie’s antics and there were no customers waiting for service anyway.

“Whose birthday? The closest birthday I know is Bon-Bon’s, but it can’t be that one because Lyra has already booked me for that,” Pinkie whispered and furtively looked around as if she feared someone was listening in on them.

“They don’t live in Ponyville,” Dinky told her and she eased her serious expression bit as she was getting a little tired of frowning. That caused the mare to look even more intrigued.

“It’s her uncle,” Tootsie clarified, then after some hesitation added, “And her dad.”

“Uncle? Oooooh the grumpy gray unicorn who comes here sometimes with your half-sister, Coal. He’s having a birthday? You want me to plan it?” Pinkie started to become excited with each sentence, but then calmed down almost immediately and looked more puzzled. “Oh and your dad? Oh right, they are twins.”

“Yeaaah, uh, you see dad has started to become a little more uh, decent dad - he’s even apologized to mom about how he treated her and what he did later. So Coal wants to throw a little ‘one more chance’ gathering,” Dinky explained and finally grabbed a paper folder from her back and gave it to Pinkie.

“She wants to use the birthday because then at least Uncle Private will be there too and other ponies that can keep dad in line if he turns out not to be sincere,” she added while Pinkie Pie went over the contents of the folder. It was mostly notes on the likes and dislikes of Dinky’s uncle and father.

“What! How can he not like birthday parties?” Pinkie suddenly shouted loud enough to cause those in the bakery to glance over to the counter.

“That would be Uncle Private...yeah Coal warned us that he is not fond of parties or large gatherings either, so no inviting everypony in Ponyville. This is meant strictly for family and a few close friends,” the violet filly mentioned.

Pinkie Pie almost wanted to protest the very idea not to invite everyone she knew to the party, but quickly reined herself in. The mare was actually aware that not everybody liked parties and some liked them smaller while others liked them bigger. She just couldn’t help being excited to throw a party for brand new ponies and she usually tried to make those first ones really memorable and big.

She had actually met Uncle Private a few times, but he had shown an uncanny ability to be able to avoid her when Pinkie tried to talk with him. When asking Dinky’s sister, Coal about it, the filly had mentioned that he had years of experience dodging another mare, so he probably just treated it as the same thing. He was very solitary, liked his alone times and absolutely no hugging.

Yet show him a plate of pancakes and he’s all over those like me over parties. Pinkie chuckled as she recalled how to foil the stallion’s elusiveness - present him with pancakes and he will tolerate your presence for a little while. Pinkie’s aim was, of course, just to gain a new friend and after the debacle she made of herself when Cranky moved to Ponyville, she tried to be more careful how to approach it.

Whether Private considered her a friend at this moment was still up in air, but Pinkie considered it a step in the right direction that the unicorn came over if she offered pancakes.

Alright, so this party needs to be planned accordingly, maybe less attention on Private and more on Dinky’s dad, uh what’s his name, oh there it is, Barricade… oh, it’s Barricade. Pinkie’s hair almost deflated when confirming who the dad was. She looked hesitantly at the two fillies.

“I forgot your dad is Barricade,” she said and now sported a very uncharacteristic frown. “I heard from Applejack that he was turning around now. Is that true?”

“He showed up out of the blue for the summer play we set up,” Tootsie pointed out. Dinky nodded.

“And like I said, he’s been apologizing to just about everypony he’s hurt - even mom,” the violet filly added. Then she noted the unusual sad expression on the mare. “Something wrong?”

“He hasn’t apologized to me,” Pinkie Pie sighed, causing the fillies to cringe as they realized that Barricade had in fact lived in Ponyville for a short while.

“Uh maybe he will at the party?” Dinky suggested though she looked uncertain.

“What did he do?” Tootsie asked and was poked in the side by her sister and given a glare.

“Tootsie, it could be too personal,” her sister whispered sharply.

“No, no it’s alright, he was just a little mean when we first met. I just avoided him after that,” Pinkie said and started to smile again.

“Besides it was nothing compared to what he did to your mom and like you said, maybe he’ll do it at the party. So when do you need it done?” The mare was already in higher spirits again.

“Next weekend, if it’s possible. You have the names of the ponies that should be invited in the folder,” Dinky said and pointed at it.

Pinkie nodded, already scanning every piece of paper in there, her brain already planning how to do this. She blinked, though, when seeing some of the names and looked at the fillies, surprised.

“Wait...Flash Sentry? Shining Armor? Cadance? They know your dad and uncle?” she blinked and then realized that Twilight’s name was on the list as well.

“Yeah, Coal said she met them in the Crystal Empire a while back. Her aunt Dew told us it was very critical that they be present, or at least told that both dad and Uncle Private would be in the same area,” Dinky shrugged, not knowing why and figured Coal’s family had made friends with them in the empire.

Pinkie Pie nodded and figured that had to be it. Having now gone over the list, she assured the fillies that everything would be ready by the weekend. With their job done, the sister rushed out of the bakery, leaving the mare behind who was, soon distracted by more customers arriving to buy treats.

Twilight Sparkle concentrated hard as she continued to go through the books on the table in front of her. After the recent takeover attempt by the changelings, she had become immensely interested in the rock Chrysalis’s throne had been made from. She was now scouring for more possible information on it. Sadly it was very lacking - even Thorax had been unable to say too much about it, just that the changelings had always had it in their kingdom.

The Princess’s main worry was that if there were more of those rocks. She knew a few parties that would be too interested in it as it was clearly a very effective way to nullify even Discord and the celestial sisters.

However, no matter what books she poured through, no more information could be found. The alicorn frowned, wondering if she should take another trip to the library in the castle of the two sisters. There were still a lot of books in there waiting to be read, sorted and catalogued.

Twilight was so distracted by her research she barely noticed that Pinkie Pie came barreling into the castle library. The alicorn yelped when she was suddenly grabbed in a hug by the other mare.

“Pinkie!” Twilight put a hoof over her chest, but she didn’t glare or otherwise scold her friend, knowing this was just one of her many ways to greet those she knew and were familiar enough with her. It hadn’t changed the fact, however, that this had startled her.

“Hi Twilight,” Pinkie greeted cheerfully and let go of the princess. Then out of her mane she produced an envelope. “Here is a party invitation for you.”

“Oh really, I would tell you to just use Spike next time to deliver it, but I have a feeling you would not find that as fun,” Twilight chuckled and took the envelope using her magic. “So who is having a party?”

“Dinky’s uncle and dad. She asked me to throw it. You were on in the invite, and your brother and Cadance and that guard Flash Sentry…” Pinkie started to count and didn’t notice that the alicorn’s eyes bulged out in shock when hearing who the party was for.

Twilight quickly opened the envelope and read the card while her friend continued to count vocally who was invited to the party, but this was just a standard invitation. She put the card on the table and using both front hooves grabbed Pinkie by the shoulders and stared right at her.

“Pinkie, this is very important. Where will the party be held?” she asked in a dead serious tone.

“Oh in Sugarcube Corner,” Pinkie said. She didn’t look concerned over how serious her friend had suddenly become.

“Can you move it to the castle, or better yet, to the Crystal Empire?” Twilight asked and glanced around, almost as if she was worried that someone was listening in on them.

“Uh, well I suppose we could move it to the castle, but we would have to delay it if we move it to the Crystal Empire and Dinky and Tootsie were very adamant that this be held next weekend,” Pinkie said, it now registering with her how agitated the alicorn looked.

“Right, move the party to the castle. Have you already sent out the invitations to the others?” she asked.

“No, I started with you. Then I was going to mail the ones that need to go to the Crystal Empire, Fillydelphia, Manehattan, Trottingham…” Pinkie raised an eyebrow when Twilight used her magic to close her muzzle for a second.

“I will handle the invitations to the Crystal Empire, it is critically important that it is worded right. You mail the other invitations as is,” Twilight said, her voice and tone becoming more and more serious.

“Twilight… what’s going on?” Pinkie Pie could now see that something was not right.

“Remember when I told you girls about the incident in the Crystal Empire a while back? Before the Equestria games?” the alicorn’s voice dropped to a whisper.

“Uuhh…” the pink pony’s response told the princess that she did in fact not remember.

Twilight wasn’t surprised, although the incident hadn’t been covered up, it just hadn’t been widely spoken about. It had happened north in the Crystal Empire and since then, aside from a few possible sightings, nothing more had happened. Then Tirek had attacked, Starlight Glimmer next and then there was the changeling take over.

“Pinkie, you don’t remember when I told you girls about King Sombra’s return?” Twilight clarified what she meant.

“Oooooh, right. That,” Pinkie now remembered Twilight telling them about her trip to the Crystal Empire with Spike. “But nothing more has happened after that, at least he hasn’t tried anything.”

“As far as we know. We think King Sombra is still laying low. However, we know two ponies that are of interest to him; Private Iceland and his brother Barricade,” Twilight said and shook her head sadly. “We’ve kept a discreet watch on them. So far nothing has happened - yet.”

“But you’re worried something will happen at the party?” Pinkie blinked as it finally hit her why her friend was so worried.

“Their family knows we are watching them and to have us around if they are going to be gathering together. That’s why my brother and I and even Cadance are on the invite list to the party. We don’t want to take any chances. King Sombra isn’t stupid - he’s clearly interested in ponies like Private Iceland and Barricade. A large gathering of them might just attract his attention enough to finally show himself,” Twilight responded, but caused Pinkie to become confused again.

“Uh what do you mean ‘ponies like them’?” she asked.

“Sorry. Private and Barricade have ancestry with the race of ponies that King Sombra is a member of - dark ponies. So do both their mother and father and all of Barricade’s children, be it Dinky or Coal or any other foal Barricade has,” Twilight said. “That’s what I meant by King Sombra not being stupid. He’ll know just about everypony coming to this party that’s blood related to Barricade and Private will have dark pony ancestry.”


“Okay, one more time!” Foxy Stripes declared and shoved forward as hard as she could.

The mostly maroon mare grunted when what she was pushing barely budged. Narrowing her eyes, she used her white right hoof to comb back her navy blue mane and proceeded to headbutt the living front door obstruction. There was a grunt from the stallion she was pushing, but he still didn’t move.

Private Iceland stood firm, both front hooves on the doorframes and his hind hooves dug into floor. The dark gray stallion looked just as determined as the mare behind him.

“Come on, Private, don’t be such a foal about this,” Dew Doe sighed. The blue pegasus with the candy cane-colored mane stood outside, watching the process. Beside her was Foxy’s daughter, Coal. The black filly was rolling her eyes at her uncle.

“I told you we shouldn’t have mentioned this was a birthday party,” she reminded the adults.

“Your nieces are throwing this party. YOU ARE GOING!” Foxy growled and started to really push. She was only slightly smaller than Private, but her strength usually rivaled stallions her size. However, her daughter’s uncle was being especially stubborn right now.

“I’m NOT going to a birthday party!” Private growled and tried to hold even firmer to the doorframe.

“Have you tried asking him?” Dew looked at Coal, who snorted at the suggestion.

“You know he turns immune to cute niece doe eyes when his birthday is brought up,” Coal grunted, though deep down she was in giggles. She always did find it amusing how much Private overreacted when his family tried to throw him any kind of a bash.

Dew Doe rubbed her muzzle as she nodded. Her niece was correct. When Private got to this point of stubbornness, very little could move him. It was one of the rare times even pancakes wouldn’t lure him out.

“I hope nopony is watching, Dew, because this must look so wrong from your perspective,” Foxy said suddenly out of the blue as the mare had grabbed a hold of Private’s barrel with her hooves and was pushing with all her might.

“What the heck are you…” Private started but fell silent when he realized what the pegasus was on about. “FOXY!”

The stallion forgot himself in the indignity. His grip loosened as he attempted to turn a little to glare at the mare. Considering Foxy was still pushing at that moment, he immediately lost it and was thrown out to the front step. The mare was prepared for it and immediately let go, standing now triumphantly in the doorframe.

“And once again, my dirty mind has saved the day.” Foxy Stripes placed a hoof on her chest, puffing it up and put on a pretense smug expression.

“I don’t get it.” Coal tilted her head.

Dew Doe shook her head over her sister and walked over to where Private lay flat on the door steps, grumbling and his eyes glaring back towards the maroon pegasus. His dark blonde mane looked even messier than usual, considering it was seldom tidy at all.

“Private, we made sure it is a small gathering, family and close friends only. Are you telling me you can’t do this for Dinky and Coal?” Dew looked down at the unicorn.

“What if he shows up?” Private muttered and his eyes drifted downwards.

“Who, Barricade? Well, it’s for him too,” Foxy shrugged.

“Uh no, Foxy, he means a certain back-from-the-dead-king,” Dew Doe clarified. Her sister grinned sheepishly in response. The blue mare looked down at Private.

“And that is why Princess Twilight arranged for the party to be at her castle. There will also be other security precautions,” she explained to him and reached out to gently caress Private on the head. “He won’t get you. We won’t allow it.”

“Don’t think of it as a birthday party, Uncle Private. Think of it as ‘let’s give dad one more chance’… uh gathering,” Coal offered. She smiled innocently when her uncle gave her an unimpressed glance.

“Ugh, fine,” the unicorn finally relented and started to rise. Dew Doe stepped back as he did. He gave the adult mares one final glare. “But I’m going under protest.”

“That’s good enough. Now one more thing,” Dew Doe said with a nod and stepped closer again.

Private arched his brow, not quite understanding what the blue pegasus meant. Then he noticed the brush that was suddenly in her hoof. His face fell. He looked at the grinning face of the mare.

“Oh no,” he whispered looking alarmed. Then in a flash he bolted with Dew flying hot on his heels.

“Now why didn’t we just do that? He always runs when Dew shows up with a brush,” Foxy sighed and shook her head in dismay.

“Well, they are running in the direction of the train station, at least,” her daughter pointed out, barely able to hold in the giggles. The brushie chase was a time-honored tradition in the house.

“Yeah, let’s make sure Private hops on the right train. He might try to get on the Vanhoover train to get as far away as possible,” Foxy muttered. After making sure the house was locked, she and Coal trotted off after them. They both giggled when hearing a loud indignant shout.


End chapter 1

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